Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau / Konstantin Lifschitz

Brahms: Klavierkonzert No. 2; Symphonie No. 4

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Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, one of the most famed and respected bass-baritones, has been appearing with increasing frequency as an orchestral conductor. This Orfeo album features the seasoned artist at the helm of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin conducting the Second Piano Concerto and Fourth Symphony of Johannes Brahms, a composer with whom Fischer-Dieskau has a great deal of experience. In the piano concerto, this experience translates into a performance that, not surprisingly, emphasizes the lyrical, vocal-like qualities of the concerto. From the horn and cello solos to the intricate interplay between the piano and orchestra, Fischer-Dieskau handling of the orchestra is fluid, seamless, and natural. Pianist Konstantin Lifschitz's playing is equally lush and rich, making for an ideal match with Fischer-Dieskau. Emphasis of lyricism in the Fourth Symphony occasionally leads to tempos that drag slightly, particularly in the first movement. Enthusiasm and momentum are regained for the energetically performed third movement and the robust finale. The orchestra has a rich, deep sound -- ideally suited for Brahms -- and plays with a high level of technical accuracy and balance between sections. Orfeo's sound is warm and detailed, capturing all of Fischer-Dieskau's nuance and musical experience. Fans of Fischer-Dieskau's many wonderful vocal recordings will enjoy hearing his take on orchestral literature as well.

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